In myasthenia gravis (MG), the neuromuscular transmission is impaired by antibodies (Abs) specific for muscle acetylcholine receptor (AChR). Anti-AChR Abs can be detected in the serum of MG patients, although their levels do not correlate with disease severity. In this study, we developed a flow cytometric assay for the detection of peripheral blood AChR-specific B cells to characterize B cell phenotypes associated with experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis (EAMG). Alexa-conjugated AChR was used as a probe for AChR-specific B cells (B220+Ig+). Mice with EAMG had significantly elevated frequencies of AChR-specific IgG2+ and IgM+ B cells. While the frequencies of IgG2+ B cells and plasma anti-AChR IgG2 levels significantly correlated with the clinical grades of EAMG, the frequencies of IgM+ B cells and plasma anti-AChR IgM levels did not. These results indicate that the frequency of AChR-specific and IgG1+ (mouse IgG2 equivalent) peripheral blood B cells and anti-AChR IgG1 levels could be potential biomarkers for MG disease severity.
- AChR specific B cells
- Acetylcholine receptor
- Experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis
- Myasthenia gravis
ASJC Scopus subject areas